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Everything posted by Charles

  1. Wow! True say - I hadnt considered that - theres no excuse!
  2. The Matrix (1999)

    I voted on just the first film. Gave it a 9 too if I recall, would give II, a 7 and III a 5
  3. The Matrix (1999)

    You have assumed that the Oracle and Architect are Good and Evil; I don't think it was intended that way - its more a human/machine, pure logic/emotion dichotomy, going back to bad star wars philosophy(!), the message was - it depends on perspectives. I grant you a lot of the philosophy is highly questionable, and given the Wachowski brothers go out of their way to never talk about its meaning to anyone anyway, not even well defined. I've already mentioned that old mystic Campbell - his idea is that all religions and mythological stories, regardless of culture, can all be broken down to a basic set of myth templates and in his book 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces' gives the barebones versions of them all.
  4. The Matrix (1999)

    I don't the point was Oracle & Architect were in cahoots; they simply can't exist without each other.
  5. The Matrix (1999)

    I enjoyed some of the different graphic styles in the animatrix, but a lot of the stories and themes contradict a lot of what is implied in the movies, specifically the 2nd and 3rd. I noticed something: The Merovingian, the French talking guy, is named after the Merovingian Kings of France (5th-8th century AD) who are, as the rumors go, support to be direct bloodline descendants of Christ. Merv, as Trinity affectionetly refers to him, must be intended as a previous version of the one from one of the 6th previous matrices, he was a beta trial of Neo! (note also, the very similar dress, the 'I was once like you' speech, and the wife desperate for a kiss of true love)
  6. The Matrix (1999)

    Again, another trilogy based on the mystic Joseph Campbells hero philosophy as illiterated in 'the hero with a thousand faces'.
  7. Ah, I mean to say the point as it is intended by Jedi Masters is "that they [emotions] are incompatible with the lifestyle of a Jedi" rather than being intrinsically bad as was implied earlier here.
  8. That not entirely correct - In parts II & III of the trilogy Anakin denounces democracy in favour of centralized power. Remember in Episode II when he's roling around the fields of Naboo with Padme, he says he thinks a powerful man like Senator Palpatine should rule alone, as the republic's bickering never solves any of its problems (ignorant of the fact that Palpatine is the very architect of the problems that are the focus of Ep II). As to the previous dialogue concerning Anakin, The Jedi and happiness, I'd say a few things: First, the point of the Jedi order is to act as an agent of the force, not the self. This is quite simply stated in the earlier films and I'm interested to see how Objectivist fans square up with this. Note the Star Wars saga is strongly influenced by the mystic writer Joseph Campbell's work 'The Hero with a thousand faces'. However I don't think the point (made by Jedi Masters) is that emotions are intrinsically bad, but that they are incompatible with the lifestyle of a Jedi. Jedi are actually very similar to Plato's 'Guardians' in 'The Republic' in this respect. A great deal is made of the fact it is extremely risky to make an older child/teenager a padawan - their own established individuality is not synonymous with the will of the force. Luke has to loose everything he knows to become a Jedi knight - his entire life on Tatooine wiped out by blasters before him. Though interestingly it seems the Jedi order never quite square up with the will of the force, at least not consciously, as the 'return of balance to the force' comes from the orders elimination primarily.
  9. *Spoiler-ish* I agree wtih Joel that there were a few awful lines in this movie; however I still very much enjoyed it and consider two points: a) these are childrens fantasy films technically and Jedi Knights aren't exactly the most emotive of people...I thought for a knight commited to a path of passive contemplation Samuel L Jackson's Mace Windu did a fantastic job of showing frustration with the Jedi orders failures and in his final fight as he falls into emotion when he decides to finish off you-know-who.
  10. Toronto

    Any Objectivists/Ayn Rand fans/groups in Toronto, Canada? I'm planning on being there for some time in the Summer, and I'd like to pad out my trip with interesting things in case the raison d'aller doesn't work out. Whilst Im at it, no budding neurologists out that way too???
  11. Toronto

    Thanks for the help Alex. Are there any parks you recommend, nr the centre?
  12. I think its amazing Lucas had all the details planned from the start. I dont know if its added later - but the celebrations accompanying the Empire's defeat at the end of Episode VI show Naboo, as its depicted in the new films, with crowds cheering. I saw the film yesterday - very impressed. There are a few niggly points I won't make until a spoiler thread is created (unless this is becoming a spoiler thread?). I was especially impressed with Palpatine's early performance. I thought they closed the gap between the two films well - so much so I'm at a loss to think how there can be further, decent, sequels. I guess it would concern the creation of an academy by Luke, and the children of Han & Leia, but where on earth would the dark side come from again? Of course they could always make more prequels - or set another story from a different time in the Star Wars universe.
  13. Coffee Question

    Funny, I know a few people who think that.
  14. Coffee Question

    Incidently been reading colonial history book by Neil Ferguson, to paraphrase - 'the British empire was built on a daily cocktail of caffeine, sugar and nicotine'!
  15. Coffee Question

    Coffee-aholic here too, but It has to be black. Latte is a crime!
  16. Is Free Will a useful concept?

    My literal answer is that it's a chicken and egg - I can't gauge whether or not what Im doing/have done has effected my thinking by thinking about it. In general though... There are certainly numerous factors effecting your state of mind. You go for a run, you do some yoga - you feel invigorated, upbeat perhaps. External factors can alter your perception; the question then, is - does your state of mind influence your decisions? My answer: depends on the decision and the situation. Strong will is no match for most environmental factors. My thoughts were certainly constrained when doing the experiment for the plain and simple reason its pretty hard to say, imagine a beautiful woman, when your trying to ascertain whether the flashing line pointed at a black of gray dot in the 5ms it showed! This is a contentious subject: some people would say that your brain has already commited resources to a specific course of action before you have consciously made a decision - and some of these argue that it is the illusion of freewill that is essential.
  17. Is Free Will a useful concept?

    If you can't hack freewill, then you must have problems taking responsibility for your actions, in which case my suggestion to you would be keep reading. However, I can see there is a little more to your questions than that alone - you ask "when do we actually CHOOSE to go one path or the other?" and you give the above thought experiment. You are asking 'how' do we make choices, and at a loss for an explanation have questioned 'if' we even make choices at all. Ill share my own experiences of this: I recently took part in a series of fMRI brain scanning experiments designed to test separate components of the visual system - looking at things like Iconic memory and perception. This involved practicing a series of tasks prior to the scan, and then repeating them inside the scanner. After some trials I reported to the researcher that no matter how hard I concentrated I was experiencing peaks and troughs of alertness - he explained that this was what he was looking for in the scans. Without wanting to burden you with detail, these scans infer regional cerebral blood flow from patterns of spin on water molecules throughout your brain. The point was that the surges of blood flow effecting my attention and my perfomance and ,I started to ask myself, my thought processes themselves? I took the opportunity to ask some of these so called 'psychophysicists' (basically cognitive scientists) what their take was on freewill. The general view was that the concept of freewill, although essential in everyday life, was misleading in terms of cognitive science. The idea that 'I', each of us, is either totally in control of themselves or totally controlled by the enviroment is false - the answer lying somewhere in between, the challenge - to understand how the various brain systems, interact to produce more complex systems, ultimately resulting in consciousness. You asked whether the concept of freewill served a purpose. My immediate answer is: a purpose to whom? to what? On a personal level I dont see how it is possible to lead a fruitful and happy life without recognising your power to determine your own destiny; and on an evolutionary scale (to which you seem to be alluding) - I'd say that survival determined by choices rather than biology will lead to much greater diversity.
  18. Great poems by the masters

    RE: If by Rudyard Kipling That poem is probably the first resolutely positive & inspiring picture of manhood I encountered growing up. Then I met Howard Roark
  19. Ray's Blues

    Here is a link to a site with some music files on it, specifically if you roll to the last list and select to hear Ray's blues I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Its part of Dave Grusin's soundtrack to the film of John Grisham's novel 'The Firm'. I wouldn't normally link to free music resources, but this recording isn't great quality and the song simply isn't sold anywhere in the UK on any of Grusin's compilations or the soundtrack. You can't download it from the site. Im an amateur Jazz pianist and this ranks as the favourite piece I can play.
  20. 'If'

    Ive found the Poertry by Masters page and added it - some good poems there!
  21. Great poems by the masters

    If - by Rudyard Kipling If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or, being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools; If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on"; If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run - Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
  22. 'If'

  23. Happy Birthday to Charles

    Thankyou very much Stephen; as I write there isn't a cloud in the sky - I shall now take my new Clavell novel out to the park and have a lesuirely read having just finished my last exam of the year!
  24. Jokes

    Ok, I think I can keep the theme... ...An engineer, experimental physicist, theoretical physicist and a philosopher are taking a hiking trip together through the Welsh hills....suddenly across the valley the engineer sees a black sheep & proclaims "What dya know - the sheep in Wales are black!?"....the Experimental Physicist pauses..."Well at least some of the sheep in Wales are black"....the Theoretical Physicist contends "At least -one- sheep in Wales is black"........."On one side anyway..." the philosopher adds cheerfully.
  25. Toronto

    Thanks Betsy, thats great! As for their Brain Drain; looking at their Universities, it seems worse than here in the UK. At least we have a thriving international student market and the freedom to go to any institution up and down the country. Canada appears to have a regional system, with the expection of going to the local over choice and where its hard for any foreign students to get it. Having said that its absolutely my intention to work in the US once I've graduated/post-graduated in the UK.